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I Hate Kates
EXT. PEARL HARBOR – AIRCRAFT HANGAR AT FORD ISLAND NAS -0700
PAUL climbs down from under the cylinders of an engine on a PBY CATALINA aircraft, wrench in hand. Streaks of grease run down his face. He is mumbling to himself.
Will she fly, Paul?
Not sure. Cylinders two and seven are still losing compression occasionally. I’m working overtime just to get her in the air for a run next week.
Ah. So, that’s your reason for working early on a Sunday?
(pointing the wrench in DON’S direction) This thing’s gotta get back up in the air. You think I want our superiors singling out my hangar?
Good point. Makes a better excuse for workin’ Sundays, anyhow. Need a hand?
PAUL wipes the grease off the wrench with a rag from his pocket.
Later I will. My stomach’s been grumbling for twenty minutes now. Hungry?
I ate before coming down here. But not too many of the guys are up yet. I’d be happy to keep ya company.
(walking towards a lunch box atop a work
bench) Yea, sure. I brought an extra Pepsi if ya
DON takes the PEPSI BOTTLE, and pops the cap with the opener attached to the bench.
Thanks. Nice morning, huh? Calm. No drill, no nothing. Did ya hear about the 17’s coming in from San Rafael this morning? Hamilton Field?
(taking a drink from the bottle)
Yeah. They told ground crews to be ready to bring ‘em in around 0730. Twelve of ‘em, I’ve heard. At least that’s what Douglas said. He’s with ground crew. You know him, right?
DON eyes wander as if in deep thought. He takes a drink.
Yeah, I know him. (he looks over to the
hangar door) Listen, Paul, I came here to tell
ya something. I want your take on it.
What’s that? Everything alright?
For now, I hope. I’m real worried, though. And tired. I ain’t slept right in a week.
A week? What’s under your skin? You get in too deep on leave?
(chuckling) Nah, everything’s fine in Honolulu, as usual. What’s got me worried is something I heard from Will.
Your buddy down at District Headquarters?
One and the same. We were drinking on leave last week, and I think he may have let something slip…
Yeah. He said they received an urgent message on the Wednesday before last. The 27th. Some sort of “war warning” from Washington.
PAUL sets his PEPSI BOTTLE on the work bench, and wipes his forehead with his hand.
(with a confused look)
Just what does he mean by a “war warning”? They just send out telegrams ahead of time now?
Not hardly. Long story short, Washington wants Admiral Kimmel and General Short to know they think the Japanese have it out for America’s possessions in the Pacific, and might be planning an attack. Heck, they even reported it was likely!
No kidding? Was he drunk?
I’ve seen Will drunk, Paul. He wasn’t drunk. Buzzed, possibly. But he hadn’t fallen off the barstool. Or even gone off the deep end, for that matter. And it gets better!
(clearly surprised) You don’t say…
I didn’t, but he did. He said HQ intercepted a message over two months ago. When was it? The twelfth? No. Dangit… Ah! That’s it! The twenty-fourth. The twenty-fourth of September.
September? What was it? A post card from
(chuckles) Almost. It WAS from Tokyo… addressed to Japan’s Consul General in Honolulu. Supposedly from Japanese Naval Intelligence. He said the guys who deciphered it were calling it the “Bomb Plot” message. Will told me he didn’t know as much about that ‘un as the other, but said he thought it contained the coordinates of our ships.
Were Kimmel and Short told?
This is where it gets foggy. And he stops making sense. According to him, it didn’t go beyond decoding. High command doesn’t even know. Evidently, someone decided it wasn’t worth the time.
PAUL and DON begin to walk towards the CATALINA.
Uh-huh. I have a feeling Will might have been enjoying his leave more than you think, Don.
Both laugh as PAUL begins to ascend the ladder again.
It’s possible, I guess. It seems a bit fishy, that’s all. It seems like the war creeps a little closer to us every day. I mean, you’ve got half the world wrapped up in some maelstrom, at each other’s necks, right? And the world’s greatest superpower keeps away? Not real likely, if you ask me. It’s doubtful we’ll stay out of this thing for long. Those lousy Japanese’ll go for anything… and I don’t trust ‘em any further than I can throw ‘em, Paul.
And no one blames you there, Don.
A LOW, RUMBLING ROAR is heard outside of the hangar, and DON walks outside of the hangar.
(looking down to DON) Those Boeings coming
(looking over his shoulder to PAUL)
Uhhhhhh… Paul, I don’t think so. There’s twelve coming in?
Yeah, that’s right. Why?
These aren’t ours, Paul. It’s too early. Come get a look at this…
PAUL rushes down the ladder, stands next to Paul, and shields his eyes against the intense rays of the sunrise. He is met with an obscured view of a wave of Japanese Mitsubishi Zeroes and Nakajima BN5 “Kate” torpedo bombers.